Speaker From

United States

State | County | Province

South Carolina

Speaker Bio

Mara Zepeda is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Zebras Unite, an international and intersectional hybrid cooperative creating the capital, culture, and community for the next economy. This global community of founders, investors, and are creating a more ethical, inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable approach to building businesses.


Prior, Mara was the founder of a venture-backed software company, Switchboard (now Hearken). It was through her experience as an entrepreneur of a different stripe that led her to co-found Zebras Unite, along with Jennifer Brandel, Astrid Scholz, and Aniyia Williams. Their manifesto,“Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break,” launched this timely, necessary, culture-shifting movement that has garnered broad recognition. It now boasts an online community of 10K+ strong, 100+ member-owners, and over 25 chapters around the world.


Mara is a systempreneur and serial social entrepreneur. She has also co-founded and was the founding board chair of Business for a Better Portland and XXcelerate. BBPDX is a next-generation business organization 350+ members strong that forges public-private collaborations to advance systemic change, shared prosperity, and social justice and equity in Portland. XXcelerate provides business support, education, peer mentorship, and funding to 200+ Oregon womxn entrepreneurs.


She speaks about and leads workshops on education, trust, social networks, and the future of business internationally. Mara has spent her career at the intersection of community building, economic empowerment, and movement building.


Mara speaks from her experience as an economic reporter for NPR, calligrapher, and child of bohemian and spiritually curious artists. She holds a BA in Russian from Reed College and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University where she graduated with honors. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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